Cars are evolving from simply a means of transportation to sophisticated, large-scale computers on wheels. The impact of digital transformation on the auto industry is driving this evolution and the connected car is starting to make considerable headway, offering new possibilities for automakers, consumers, and other ecosystem partners. On the path to becoming the new norm in the automobile industry, they have become a reality in recent years with the maturity of technologies such as the Internet of Things, 5G, artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, telematics, and the cloud. Needless to say, connected cars play a central role in software-defined vehicles that make traveling “smarter” and “more efficient”.
The Numbers Behind
According to Statista, the market penetration of connected cars is expected to increase from about 40% in 2020 to over 70% in 2025. The report further states that the globally connected car market is projected to grow from $56 billion in 2020 to about $65 billion in 2021. India is taking a unique position in developing the next big frontier for connected cars. The country’s connected car market is expected to grow by over 20% in the next few years with the availability of connected services ranging from 20% to 70%, across different categories of OEMs. Thus, the acceptance of connected vehicles, and therefore demand, is almost certain to grow exponentially nationwide over the next few years.
What Matters is Connectivity
The connected car market is still in its early days and this time is apt for OEMs to ramp up their capabilities. Demand for new consumer experiences has opened a world of opportunities for companies in different sectors such as manufacturing, mobile operators, and OEMs. It is no exaggeration to say that connected cars go beyond the long-standing benefits of point-to-point transportation, providing owners with a nifty experience that brings new services to the automotive industry. These experiences create new on-demand business models based on the benefits they offer to the various stakeholders of the automotive ecosystem.
As the level of connectivity increases, cars will be better able to meet user needs such as navigation, entertainment, and even transactional commerce. Another important aspect is the implementation of interoperability in connected vehicle systems to ensure effective connectivity, consistency, accuracy, and reliable performance, while not compromising on security and safety. Connected vehicles are employed with an in-vehicle sensors network that collects, stores, processes, and communicates with neighbouring vehicles, infrastructure, pedestrians, and home (V2X) to help drivers make life-saving and experience-enhancing decisions. Hence, it is important that all systems and devices work together in a safe, secure, reliable, and efficient way to create seamless interoperability to enable connected vehicles.
Connected car technologies and applications are broader than the on-board equipment in the vehicle, giving the driver more time to quickly identify and respond to dangerous situations and avoid accidents and at the same time provide access to services that were otherwise not accessible.
Additionally, unlike independent sensor-based decision making like radar/camera, connected car technology works independently of the “line of sight” and can augment the system to make more informed decisions than independent sensors. For example, if the car in front of you brakes hard across the hill due to an obstacle, one will not be able to see the dangerous situation and will get notified even if they are not aware of it. In addition to that, networked vehicle technology is cheaper to install in vehicles than radar and camera equipment. This means that in the future it will be part of the standard equipment on all vehicles and not just luxury cars.
But just like the advantages, which are being leveraged, the connected car ecosystem must also focus on the challenges, which have arisen as a result.
Undoubtedly, internet-enabled vehicles have many security and privacy concerns about the data generated. Like smartphones, these new technology-networked vehicles also need to consider regulatory issues related to privacy, data protection, encryption, and standardization. The connected vehicles growth estimates for India are on an upswing and it is critically important for the ecosystem and infrastructure to keep pace with this growth.
Security is a major issue for software users and with the automotive industry adopting software-defined vehicle, cybersecurity should be the biggest priority. OEMs must focus on consumer privacy and security as software vulnerabilities can undermine the security of connected vehicle systems and features, endangering both sensitive information and the physical security of users.
Moreover, as the number of connected cars (and the vast amount of data they generate) grows, so will the cost and complexity of data collection and subscription management. It is imperative to keep the costs associated with connectivity and profile management, predictable and low. Costs are often passed on through service subscriptions, so if consumers think they aren’t worth the cost, it will result in plan cancellation and lost revenue.
In recent years, the “Internet of Things,” a new paradigm of technology, has become undoubtedly a trending topic. In this paradigm, everyday objects in our lives are “smart” and networked. While technologies such as IoT, AI, and ML have the potential to smoothen the flow of traffic, it’s just a small step towards the future of connected cars. In the future, connected cars will undoubtedly evolve through technological development, providing personalization options that are usually expected for common home appliances like smartphones and consumer electronics devices.
Author: Tinku Malayil Jose, CoE Leader (Embedded Product Engineering) at QuEST Global.
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